If I Could Be There

Every time you ask someone a question about yourself, you imply a lack of self-knowledge. Yet, you cannot live without questions: “What am I doing?” or “What am I doing here?” There is nothing wrong in asking, of course. In fact, there might be something wrong with you if you have never questioned yourself.

Yes, I know there are some who make a statement about their surety: “I’ve never questioned myself because I know what I want.” Nonsense.

Questioning is the nature of brains that have to deal with the world. Otherwise, life would be even more hazardous than it is. “Can I put that in my mouth?” “Is it too hot to touch?” “Would I get hurt if I jumped in?” “Is it secure?” “Will it hold me?” “Is there any future in this career?”

Questions about oneself differ from questions about the world we encounter. We can rely on tradition, encyclopedic knowledge, and experiment to determine answers to the latter. Getting answers for the former is far more difficult. “Am I really in love?” “Should I trust?” “Why do I keep making the same mistake?”

If I could be there when you pose questions about yourself, would I offer words of encouragement, advice, or caution? Sorry, I know that is what you expect, but I decline.

If I could be there, I would probably just say, “That’s a good question. Do you have anything else you want to ask?” Just like you, I have questions. Will you answer the questions I have about my own circumstances? Let’s think about that. If you can answer my questions, maybe you have more answers than what you currently believe lie in your inventory of wisdom.

Sometimes only you can answer the questions you ask.